Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week of November 10, 2013

Just a 2 day trip this time.  I had scheduled for 3, but the weather idiots missed it by such a wide mark we had to cancel Tuesday.  20-30 mph winds and dropping temps from the lower 50's would not have made for a fun day on the water.  We did get in Sunday and Monday evening with Rhandy, and Monday morning and afternoon with Dale.  The weather on Sunday and Monday was absolutely spectacular.  There was only a light breeze and temperatures in the lower 70's  Just beautiful.

I met up with Rhandy at 2 pm Sunday and we headed north to the same "good spot" we have been hitting recently.  This time it was off.  Rhandy had 4 or 5 bites and caught 1 small fish.  He also hooked a good fish, but it quickly got off and we never saw it.  I had one bite.  Around 3:30 my buddy Christian arrived at the ramp and we headed back to pick him up at The Minnow Bucket.  It had been quite awhile since he has been along on a trip and we were hoping to find some fish for him.  We headed out on a main lake point and fished for awhile until near dark.  Around 5 pm there was some light schooling action and we caught a few small bass.  Rhandy also foul hooked a great big drum in the back and that was quite a fight.  The schooling shut off just before sunset and we went in to drink much beer.
Monday started early with Dale at 6:15 am and we were out on the lake before sunrise.  First boat off the ramp.  I like that!  We headed to a main lake point and caught a couple of small bass but that's all she wrote.  There was an awesome sunrise through the fog though.
After that we moved around in Little Caney and tried wacky worms, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, shakey heads, crank baits, spinner baits, and just about everything but the kitchen sink.  They just weren't biting anything.  Christian caught one little fish about 3 pounds and that ended up being the trophy of the day.  We ended the day throwing shakey heads in very shallow water and caught a few more small fish.  Dale was convinced if we had started that earlier we might have done better, but I'm not so sure.  Two of the little fish I caught I just about hit on the head in 1 foot of water.  Soon as the bait hit they were on.  I get the feeling they just are not feeding much at all during daytime.  Blue sky, no wind, was just too nice for the fish to bite.  I think we ended up with 6 total all day, with a few more jumped off, and nothing of size.
Even if the fish were not biting it was a beautiful day for a boat ride.  The trees are just starting to turn and we did see a bald eagle and lots of hawks.
We Got off Dale's boat at 2:30 and after about a 30 minute break headed back out on Rhandy's boat.  Once again we went north to our "good spot" only this time we couldn't even get bit.  Drat. Hoping to catch some more schooling action we headed back down to the main lake point about 4:30 and fished about 30 minutes before they started up again.  They actually stayed up a bit longer that evening and came up more often than they had on Sunday.  I caught 6, Rhandy had 2, and Christian caught 1, plus several great big sand bass.  The action was pretty good, off and on, and made for a great ending to a fun trip.  The icing on the cake was a beautiful Lake Fork sunset to send us in, where we were the last trailer off the ramp.  Now that's the way to fish, first on, last off.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

week of October 27, 2013

Well my wife's ever changing travel schedule opened up a fishing window this week and the weather looked decent enough to give it a shot.  I knew Dale was already booked for a couple of days but found he had Monday open.  I booked Rhandy for Tuesday and Wednesday figuring we could get part of the day in Wednesday before the front came through.

Monday was tough.  I think we ended up with 6 bass, 3 on crankbaits and 3 on spinner baits.  Most were way in the back of a pocket where we found a few fish chasing shad.  As the cloud cover broke around noon the action stopped.  We ran all over the lake and tried everything in the book but things never got any better.   We even tried some deep water stuff, to no avail. 

Tuesday was not much better.  My friend David joined us and we went out with high hopes despite the sad results of the previous day.  By the time he had to go, we had 5 bass and 2 catfish.   Texas rigs and crank baits seemed to be the few successes of the many things we tried.  However Rhandy did snag an ugly old Alabama rig someone had left on a main lake point.  It was a slot Alabama rig so Rhandy sent it back for the next "lucky" fisherman.  His opinion is clearly indicated on the photo!  Taken just after I pointed out he just caught more lures than we had caught fish all day. 

After we dropped David at the dock around 5:30, we headed back out to another main lake point.  No good.  So back we went to our usual spot, which we had just fished 30 minutes earlier with no luck (except for the Alabama rig).  After just a few minutes we started seeing a few fish moving chasing shad.  No real schooling action, just a stray fish here and there chasing bait.  I managed to catch 7 of the suckers, up to 4 pounds, more than doubling our entire day's output in about 45 minutes.  The 4 pounder had some cool spots, otherwise I would not have had a picture fish this trip.  Just goes to prove good spots are good spots, you just have to be there at the right time!
Wednesday morning I was awakened by driving rain on the roof of Hook, Line, and Sinker.  A quick check of the weather showed massive rain on the way and a flash flood watch in effect.  I am the Lake Fork Rain God!!   For the second time in the last few outings I drove 130 miles home in pouring rain.  When Lake Fork is refilled to full pool I want credit!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week of October 13, 2013

I had a chance to go this week but the weather forecast was very iffy.  40% chance of rain Sunday, 80% Monday, 60% Tuesday with a good cold front coming through Tuesday with the possibility of heavy thunderstorms.  I decided to take the chance and I'm glad I did.  I fished Sunday and Monday evening with Rhandy and Monday and Tuesday with Dale. 

Sunday evening fishing was pretty good.  Rhandy and I went back in a pocket we had done well in last week and he found a 7 pounder and a 7 pound 4 oz fish with a grub on a Texas rig. The 7 pounder may have been heavier but we did not weigh it.  I found a 6 pound 7 oz fish, almost half a lunker, with a wacky worm fishing along some good grass.  We never even needed our rain gear.  Yay!  i think we also had 2 small fish for a total of 5 for the evening.

I met Dale Monday morning at 6:45 am and we trucked up to the 515 east ramp.  We both thought we were going to have a killer day.  The fish told us otherwise.  We fished wacky worms along grass, crankbaits and rattletraps along grass and trees, spinner baits, topwaters, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, checked deepwater humps, we even went back to the nursery from last week.  The only thing we found in quantity were great big sand bass that were hitting a spinner bait.  I think I ended up with 2 small bass and Dale had 4 for the day.  It was a tough slog.  There was some light rain off and on but nothing steady.

I joined Rhandy for Monday evening and things were no better.  We went back to our honey hole and Rhandy only caught 1 small bass.  The honey hole was dry.  Some clouds started darkening up so we headed back south to get closer to the ramp and ended up on a main lake point.  Right after we pulled up, I caught a tiny bass on a rattletrap and Rhandy caught 2 on a small crankbait.  Then they quit.  We hung around quite awhile after but never got another bite.  Except for one small catfish I caught on a crankbait.  As darkness approached, we headed across the lake to another secondary point and Rhandy and I had a double on crankbaits as we worked our way across.  They were small fish and those were our only bites there. 

After last Monday and this Monday, I think I  may stop fishing on Mondays all together!

Tuesday was the day the big cold front and possible thunderstorms were due to arrive.  Dale heard 2 forecasts, noon or 3 pm, for the arrival at the lake.  We had already gotten in more fishing than I expected so everything from here on was gravy.  We started out on a main lake point and threw crankbaits, rattle traps, and Carolina rigs from there down the bank.  We worked out both directions from the point and ended up with 3 small bass and a catfish.  After that we went up into Little Caney and tried a number of very good spots with no success.  There were a few showers that came through but nothing major.  As 11 am approached, we decided to get out of Little Caney, due to the slow idle necessary with the current lake level.  We wanted to be closer to the ramp so we'd be ready to flee should heavy weather approach.  We worked our way down the bank, tying up some, drifting some, but not much luck either way.  Around 12:15 the rain came on slowly then steadily harder and we decided it was time to go in.  As I drove back to DFW I was in heavy rain all the way from the Minnow Bucket to I-35E, almost 100 miles, so that was a good call. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

week of October 6, 2013

The weather finally cooled down enough to fish and I finally got the time to go so off I went!  This time I fished 3 afternoons til dark with Rhandy and 3 full days with Dale.  I spent 12 hours on the water, sun up to sun down, on Monday and Tuesday.  Plus Sunday evening and Wednesday morning.

On arrival Sunday evening I heard sad tales from Rhandy about how poor the fishing had been lately.  He had been skunked himself 3 trips in a row before finally finding a few fish to break the jinx.  We headed out anyway, determined to make them bite one way or another.  Yeah, right.  I think I finished the evening with 2 bites and a white stripe down my own back.  Rhandy caught one fish, which undoubtedly was a suicide.  We tucked our tales between our legs and rolled in at dark to drink much beer.  We did see some schooling fish on a main lake point but another boat was on them and we couldn't get them to come our way.  Never could tell if they were sand bass or green fish.  We made a mental note to be there earlier on Monday evening.
Monday dawned crisp and chilly with some fog on the water and Dale also regaled me with tales of fishing woe from the guide community at Lake Fork.  Seems the little darlings were just not biting for anyone.  We sallied forth anyways and the tales of woe were definitely confirmed.   In 8 hours of fishing, in many great spots, with many proven techniques, I had all of 2 bites and NO fish.  Dale caught 2 and jumped off 2 more with a few more bites.  Yikes.  Dale worried more about it than I did.  It just be's that way sometimes.  It's all about keeping at it.

Rhandy and I headed out shortly after landing with Dale and we headed North to try our luck along the grass which has been growing like crazy past the 515 east bridge.  It sure is some pretty grass.  One fish finally screwed up and ended my dry spell.  I think Rhandy wore the white stripe Monday evening, though he did catch a few sand bass and a little bar fish.   We even showed up early at the main lake point hoping for some schooling action.  Of course, they never showed up at all.  Typical.  We did some trolling with DD-22s and all Rhandy caught were some sand bass.  Rhandy finally decided they were Sunday schoolers.  He also opined that they all must be government fish deemed non-essential by Obama.  Yes, we decided the poor fishing was Obama's fault.  Once again, we headed in to drink much beer.  It was essential beer.

Tuesday came early and not without some delay.  After a long day Monday, I was ready to jump back on the horse again on Tuesday.  Only the deadbolt lock on my room would not unlock from the inside!  Hah!  Trapped in my room and Dale waiting on me.  After scratching my head a minute I finally exited through the window and tried the room key in the deadbolt from the outside.  Fortunately it worked, after a few extra turns, and it appeared a spring or something had gone out in the deadbolt.  I put some tape over the deadbolt so it would not stick out, left a note on the office door, and finally left to go fish.

Dale and I headed North again and the decision was to stick with crank baits in front of the grass.  It worked.  We did that most of the day and I ended up with 8 small fish for the day.  7 of those came on crankbaits with one on a wacky worm.  A definite improvement over Monday.  I think Dale slept a little better on Tuesday night. 

After leaving Dale's boat, I was off again on Rhandy's sled and we zoomed off to the grass up north of the 515 east bridge.  Our first stop was a bust, no bites, but our second turned out to be a honey hole.  After catching a couple of fish on crank baits, we moved to the back of a cove and locked down with wacky worms.  There were fish moving all around and we moved back and forth where we saw them,  chunking wacky worms and catching a few here and there.  Some of them were flying fish.  So small, when you set the hook the fish flew over the boat.  We didn't care.  It was a nice change.  Rhandy caught one nice one that went about 6 pounds.  We ended up with 12 back in that pocket before heading back to the main lake point down south.  At the point we chunked crank baits and DD22's.  Rhandy caught 3 bass and I hooked one real nice fish.  I never had control of that fish as he hit it coming at the boat and I never could catch up with him.  He wallowed and spit the crank bait before I could even get a good hook set.  I did see it and it looked like a good 8 pounder.  Dang it. When Rhandy hooked a catfish with his DD-22 we decided that was a sign to go in and drink beer.  So we did.

Wednesday was a little warmer and we had high hopes of getting some better numbers.  We started out in some good grassy spots up north with wacky worms and crank baits but we never could seem to find the fish.  I think Dale and I had a couple of small fish each all morning, but we did seem to be finding a few more bites.  We even went back to Rhandy's honey hole from the night before but I don't think we ever caught a fish there.  We had some bites, but could not hook one.  Finally we moved down the bank to a spot where timber and grass were in close proximity and started catching baby bass.  More flying fish.  We were laughing about the small size and decided to call the spot "the nursery".  Dale said he was sure there were some bigger fish hanging around and just after that I hooked a nice 6 pounder.  Not a mom or a dad, but maybe the teenaged baby sitter.  Still a fun fish to catch.  That thing had some darned good teeth and left both my thumbs bloody.  We ended up with about 13 from the nursery and a total of 17 for the day.

The Monarch butterflies are doing their migration and every few minutes you can see one fluttering past.  We also saw 2 pairs of bald eagles on Wednesday and a doe and a fawn running around on shore.  I'm just happy we managed to get rid of all the skunks and catch some fish!  Another fun trip in the books.  Back for more soon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

week of September 22, 2013

Two short but merry days on Lake Fork this week.  Things were slow.  Very slow.  However we still had fun and caught a few fish.  I fished Tuesday and Wednesday with Dale and we caught 6 on Tuesday and 5 on Wednesday with only a few more bites than fish.  Nothing big, but I did find one around five and ahalf pounds.  Rhandy and I went out Tuesday evening for 3 hours without a single bite between us.  We decided that drinking beer would be more fun so that's what we did.  Rhandy also brought me some of his delicious championship chili.  Weather was nice but a bit warm when the wind slicked off.  I wonder if they are on a night time feeding pattern?  They didn't seem to be eating during the day, that's for sure.

Today we did get to enjoy watching a bald eagle doing his own fishing.  He was successful and we watched him have his lunch on the bank.  I think he was doing better than we were. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Week of June 23, 2013

Rhandy called me up saying he needed a vacation and invited me out for a few days of "fun fishin".  All I had to do was bring BBQ and beer and he would take us fishing and get some rooms at Wes and Jan's Leafy Branch Lodge.  Sounded like a good deal to me.  My wife even added in two home made peach pies to the deal.  I brought along some Black's brisket, Murphy's Irish Stout, and some North Main BBQ ribs.  Rhandy made some of his famous Armadillo eggs.  We lived well.
Overall the fishing was not great, but it was fishing!  We took it real easy, hitting the water around 8 am every morning then coming in before noon and the real heat of the day.  We found a few every day, but nothing like we usually do.  After a shower, some BBQ, and a good siesta, we headed back out every evening around 6 pm and stayed til an hour or two after dark.  Wes and his next door neighbor Tom took us around to some of their holes, and were rewarded with no fish!  Rhandy and I each caught some but our guests didn't.  I blame Rhandy.
My biggest fish was about 4 pounds but Rhandy found one around 7 pounds with help from Wes's net.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Week of May 27, 2013

Just back from a great 3 and a half day trip with Dale and Rhandy.  As usual I fished mornings with Dale and afternoons til dark with Rhandy.  I spent 12-13 hours a day on the water and had a blast with both guides.

Overall this trip was a bit more about numbers than size.  We had pretty good numbers every day and I counted a total of 102 bass caught between us.  The main story was THE WIND.  It blew steady 15-25 mph almost the entire time I was out there.  It laid down a bit in the evening on Monday and Tuesday, but that was about it.  We spent our time bouncing from spot to spot, then tying up and fishing.  I enjoy fishing a spot real thoroughly and it seemed to pay off for us most of the time.  We did try sailing down long banks pitching crankbaits a few times, but that didn't seem to produce real well.

Dale had 2 spots that worked well and we totaled 25, 20, 17, and 8 bass through the week.  We started out each morning on a main lake point.  To make sure we got the spot we left very early each morning, well before dawn.  We were always the first boat off the ramp at the Minnow Bucket and that paid off.  I mostly pitched crank baits at the point and every morning I had to wade through a ton of sand bass to find the green fish.  I bet between Dale and I we caught way over 100 sand bass this trip, many of them big 2 pounders.  I had one that I'm sure was well over 3 pounds.  The biggest sand bass I have ever seen.  It was too floppy to take a picture.  Dale actually caught TWO sand bass on one crank bait.  One on the front treble and one on the back.  Again, I didn't get a picture because they were flopping around so much and I was laughing. We could catch 'em darned near every cast, but eventually we got tired of digging out the treble hooks and switched to Carolina rigs.  Even then the sandies pestered the heck out of our flukes.  Thump, thump, thump!!!  Dale caught several great big sand bass on flukes with Carolina rigs.

We moved around and tried a number of deeper water spots but Dale found just one that produced well so we beat the hell out of it for 3 and a half days.  It paid off with lots of decent fish that were fun to catch.  Nothing huge, but lots in the 3-4 pound range.  One of the funniest things occurred on Monday afternoon.  I kept seeing a blob out behind the boat in the water and I thought it was one of those jelly balls we see floating around occasionally.  I got hung up and as Dale prepared to untie so we could retrieve my Carolina rig, Dale noticed it was a turtle.  However it was not your normal aquatic turtle, it was a small Box Turtle, which is pretty much a land creature.  The poor little thing was paddling as fast as it could go, but its domed shell was acting like a sail in the high winds and it was just paddling in place, occasionally sticking its head up and gasping for air.  We headed over to rescue it and as the boat approached, it turned towards us, paddling, and stuck its head up as if to hollar for help.  Dale netted it and we went over to retrieve my rig.  The poor tortoise was exhausted and Dale put it in his special turtle live well til we went in to the ramp.  He released it near his boat storage.  Dale Stokes' tortoise rescue service!

Afternoons were very windy so Rhandy and I put in over at Wes's lodge in Leafy Branch on Monday and Tuesday and we worked some of Rhandy's spots along the west bank of the Northwest arm.  Just as Dale had found, some held fish and others were barren.  We saw a nice bald eagle out on Dale hump.  Tuesday was the only tough day but even that had a bright spot.  At our very first stop, we pulled up to a spot and Rhandy said "Throw that DD-22 between those 2 trees.  I caught a nice one right there last year."  Sure enough, I hung a 6 pound 3 ounce bass on my first cast.  Unfortunately, things got tough after that and we ended up with just 3 fish that afternoon, despite hitting some very good spots that had worked the day before.  That's fishing!  The next day Rhandy had me throw out and reel up my first cast so we would not have that first cast fish jinx again. That made me laugh.
I fished a half morning with Dale on Thursday and we caught sand bass til our arms got sore, then moved to his secret spot we had pounded the last 3 days.  Sure enough things had slowed down, a lot.  Dale caught several but I couldn't get bit.  As the time to go in approached, we moved up shallower and I eventually called "Last cast for bass" and pitched out a rig with a baby creature on it.  About half way back, I got my first bite at that spot and swung to set the hook.  A miss.  Dang it!  Well I started to reel in my bait, since I knew the hook would be exposed, and after just a few turns, wham, a bass hit it.  Too funny and a great way to end a fun trip.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Week of May 20, 2013

Rhandy finally got his greenhouses cleared out of spring plants and invited me out for a couple of days of "fun fishing".  I brought the BBQ and beer and helped out with the gas and Rhandy let me crash at his Siesta Ranch and we went crappie fishing every day.  A pretty good trade-out if you ask me, and even if you don't ask me!

We spent Tuesday morning on lake Bob Sandlin and came home with 22 keeper crappie which Rhandy cleaned up and bagged for me to take home later.  We came in early due to some big thunderstorms building to the west and made it back in just in time to dodge the rain and hail.  I managed to snooze my siesta right through the thunderstorm and didn't hear a thing!  Hey, it is called Siesta Ranch!  After some fabulous BBQ and much beer we called it an early evening and crashed to prepare for Wednesday's festivities. 

Wednesday's weather was much calmer so we headed out to Lake Cypress Springs to check out the crappie there.  As we put out from the dock at the ramp Rhandy commented it needed some repair.  We spent about 4 hours catching one here and one there under the bridge and ended up with 29 keepers, including one giant 2.2 pound crappie that was 16 inches long.  Anywhere else they would have mounted that fish.  Rhandy couldn't stand it any longer so despite a fridge full of righteous Q, we dined on fresh fried crappie that evening and, man, were they excellent!  We mounted the 16 incher on a fork and ate it!
Thursday we spent the morning back at Lake Cypress Springs.  When we went to load in the parks people were there fixing the dock.  Rhandy got his wish.  We caught another 10 crappie including another 2 pounder.  Rhandy kept those and sent me home with 80 crappie filets for my freezer.  I have a very happy freezer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

week of April 28, 2013

Another fun couple of days out with Dale and Rhandy on Lake Fork.  The weather was amazing except for Wednesday when the wind slicked off and it got pretty warm.

Rhandy and I started Sunday out at Lake Cypress Springs for some crappie fishing.  We didn't kill them but I came home with enough filets for a few dinners. We caught a few giants, too!
Monday I went out with Dale while my buddy Trey and his son in law went out with Rhandy.  We caught a few but Rhandy put Trey on a 6 and 7 pounder and Rhandy caught one over 8.  We had a decent mexican dinner in Quitman before they had to head back to town.

Tuesday David came out and joined Dale and I and things started out pretty good on a main lake point.  David hooked a good one but it spit the hook.  Later Dale caught one at 9 pounds and 12 ounces.  It was a fat monster.  I was sure it was over 10.  When David netted the fish the hook fell out of its mouth.  We spent the rest of the day catching one here and one there on a variety of techniques.
David had to head back but I went back out with Rhandy around 2:30 pm.  Rhandy caught one that went about 6 pounds and I hooked a big fish that straightened out the hook on my rattle trap.  I never saw the fish but it felt like a good one.
Wednesday Dale and I started before 6 am to get out to his favorite deep water hole before it was camped by other fishermen.  I jumped off about an 8 pounder who spit a crankbait at my head.  I got to see that fish and it was a big heavy fish laying right where Dale said it would be.  Drat.  We did catch a few decent fish before they shut off around 8 am.  We hunted the rest of the day with little success as the wind dropped to zero and temperatures climbed.  It felt more like summer than spring for awhile there.
In our travels we saw a nice immature bald eagle and I snapped a couple of photos.  His white head had not quite developed yet but it was a huge bird.
I ended the day with Dale by hanging a carolina rig in the top of a tree as a christmas ornament. I hate doing that!  The fish are certainly deeper than 30 feet in the air.  We went in to meet up with Rhandy about 2 pm.

Rhandy and I headed straight to his honey hole and things started slow.  After about 40 minutes of no bites, Rhandy finally hooked a 7 pound 2 ounce bass and got it to the boat.  We stayed around his "go to" hump but never got the action we had seen the previous day.  We did get a couple of DD-22 fish pitching around stumps.  Off we went to try several other good spots without success.
 Around 6 pm the wind turned around to the northeast and started blowing 15-20 mph.  We went back to the main lake point where I had my hook straightened the day before and at first had no better luck.  Then we saw a single bass, about 3 pounds, chasing a single shad all over the top of the water around the boat.  At that point we had been sitting shallow and throwing out deep as that is where we got the best bite on Tuesday.  That showed us they were up shallow and I started pitching a rattle trap along the shore.  I told Rhandy if the bite didn't pick up by 6:30 we'd just go in and drink beer.  Shortly after that I caught a 3 pounder.  Then, right at 6:30 I hooked an 8 pound 4 ounce "good un'".  It made for deep water but I got it out from under the boat and into the net.  That was a strong fish!  We fished about another 30 minutes and I caught one more bass before we went in to drink much beer.  Photo of that fish is at the top.

I had planned to fish Thursday morning a half day with Dale, but yet another strong cold front made us think better.  I appreciate Dale's flexibility a lot as I don't think either of us would have enjoyed the 30 mph winds and plunging temperatures that were expected.

I'll be back for more soon!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week of April 21, 2013

More fun in the sun with Rhandy and Dale this week.  No big fish this week.  The biggest we caught was a 6 pound 7 ounce fish Dale hooked.  We had some fun and I caught several around 4 pounds. I also caught one long skinny fish, probably a very old male.  If it had packed the weight on like all the other fish it probably would have gone 7 pounds.  However in its emaciated condition it only went about 3.  Record low temps and a cold rain Tuesday night killed our fun, but I shall be back again soon!

Special mention to Rhandy for the outstanding Armadillo eggs.  Huge jalapenos stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and coated in BBQ sauce.  More please!